Ukrainian novelist Andrey Kurkov on preserving his country’s culture during war

Jeffrey Brown:

Andrey Kurkov is the author of more than 20 books, including, translated to English, the novels “Death and the Penguin,” and “The Bickford Fuse.”

A new novel, “Gray Bees,” is set of several years ago in the Donbass region of Eastern Ukraine amid what was then a simmering conflict, but one little noted by the outside world. A resident of Kyiv, Kurkov spoke to us from earlier this week from Western Ukraine.

In the forward to your new novel, you write that you wanted to give voice to the forgotten people in the east. That was a few years ago. Now the entire country has been invaded. Did you ever imagine this could happen?

Andrey Kurkov, Author, “Gray Bees”: No. No, I could never have thought about this, because, I mean, this is Middle Ages, or at least this is the war of 20th century, something like Second World War.

I mean, the methods of German Nazis are very obvious to me in Bucha, in Gostomel, in Mariupol. I have – never could imagine such a destruction and killing of civilians and just don’t caring about the country, the people, the infrastructure.

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